Wolves boss Gary O’Neil says the officials during his side’s defeat at Fulham have admitted they got TWO key decisions that went against them wrong.
An entertaining, but controversial, clash at Craven Cottage saw Wolves suffer a 3-2 defeat and find themselves on the wrong end of four major decisions.
Fulham went 2-1 up through Willian’s penalty just before the hour after Nelson Semedo was adjudged to have brought down Tom Cairney.
Wolves equalised with a penalty of their own, however, Cottagers defender Tim Ream avoided a second yellow card for a challenge on scorer Hwang Hee-Chan.
Carlos Vinicius avoided a red card for an apparent headbutt on Max Kilman late on moments before Fulham’s winner came through the penalty spot after referee Michael Salisbury overturned his initial decision to not give the spot-kick when Harry Wilson hit the deck following a challenge by Joao Gomes.
O’Neil has since told talkSPORT that Salisbury admits two of those calls were incorrect – Fulham’s first penalty and the decision to only give Vinicius a yellow.
On Fulham’s first penalty, O’Neil said: “I’ve been in with the referee and he agrees with me. He says he wishes he was sent to the screen, he doesn’t think it was a penalty… he would’ve overturned it and given no penalty.”
And on the Vinicius headbutt, O’Neil added: “I discussed this with the referee as well. At the time they tried to tell me it wasn’t an aggressive enough headbutt, which is a crazy explanation by the way.
“You can’t headbutt people. My son’s at home watching that and you’re saying to people you can headbutt them if you headbutt them softly.
“They’ve come out since, I believe, and spoken to a member of staff and said, ‘yeah, we got that one wrong.'”
In an interview with Sky Sports, O’Neil said: “We discussed a lot of things. Vinicius should’ve been sent off for a headbutt on Max, clearly headbutts him on the nose. Isn’t sent off, he’s given a yellow.
“Tim Ream should’ve been sent off on the second bookable offence for the penalty… they’re my opinions.
“We get to the penalties against us, Nelson plays the ball and doesn’t touch Tom Cairney. I’ve watched it back with the referee and he says he thinks he got it wrong, it should’ve been sent to the monitor.
“It doesn’t help me. It doesn’t help all the fans that have travelled all this way to watch the team. It doesn’t help the players who are feeling frustrated again.
“The Nelson one has been pretty much admitted by the referee that they’ve made a mistake.
“The one on Harry Wilson we disagree on a little. He thinks there’s enough contact to give a penalty, I think it’s really soft.”
He added: “It’s bad luck that it keeps going against us but there are bad refereeing decisions in there.
“I’ve had a grown up conversation in there and trying to remain calm. I’m not angry with anybody, I’m not abusing people, it’s, ‘come on guys, it’s six, seven points now that have gone against us and I’m managing a big football club here. The difference you’re making to my reputation, to the club’s progression up the league, to people’s livelihoods is huge.’
“It can’t be with all the technology and all the time in the biggest league in the world that we’re getting so many wrong, it can’t be okay.”
Asked if he will be contacting PGMOL chief Howard Webb, O’Neil said: “I won’t be calling anybody.
“I said to them [the officials] in there that I have two options. One is I keep behaving in the way that I should and I make my players behave in the way that they should and they respect everybody and we respect all the decision-making.
“Or we start to go, ‘that’s not working, we’re going to have to make some noise.’
“I’d rather be a decent human being and answer things honestly and have honest chats with people but things need to get better. I can’t accept us being on the wrong end of decisions as much as we are.
“I’ve always been for VAR but I think it’s causing us a big problem at the moment. The fact that the first one isn’t deemed a clear and obvious error and the second one is…
“I just think VAR has cost us there… VAR is not helping much with subjective decisions so maybe tonight has maybe turned me against VAR when I thought it would probably help but it doesn’t seem to be.”